It's a well-known fact that kids will cheerfully eat stuff a starving hyena won't go anywhere near. This got me thinking: what sort of goofy, ridiculous shit did we eat as children that probably should be banned by the Geneva Convention?
Let's just say the most difficult part of writing this was trimming this down to eight entries.
Fruit by the Foot — When people want to rip on Millennials, they tend to start with stupid shit like how we got trophies just for participating in sports. Really, though? I think you can trace anything wrong with us back to the fact that our parents fed us edible fucking flypaper. There's really no other way to describe Fruit by the Foot, which looks and tastes like something out of a Franz Kafka novel. If we're fucked up, Baby Boomers (spoiler: we aren't, you're just full of shit), it's because you fed us cherry-flavored industrial adhesive marketed as food.
Capri Sun — Before I wrote this, all I could really focus on about Capri Sun was that it was mildly fruity-tasting dishwater in a plastic pouch whose straws never fucking worked for shit (I am to this day convinced that there is a level of hell where you are forced to attempt to insert Capri Sun straws into pouches for all eternity). Fortunately, alert Kinja user Smithwellette pointed out that apparently, it's common for Capri Sun to become filled with mold and actually ferment. There's also this Facebook page, dedicated to weird shit found inside Capri Suns (and if I found the header image for that page in something I planned to drink, I would immediately contact an exorcist). So it's not just largely-flavorless fruit fluid — it's largely-flavorless fruit fluid that might have something from Aliens living inside of it.
Giant Pixy Stix — I would've thought these things were an SNL sketch if I hadn't seen them with my own eyes (and eaten dozens of them). You know how regular Pixy Stix are a brief but potent shot of flavored sugar? Giant Pixy Stix are basically that, only add what tastes like battery acid and make it a hellish experience that never fucking ends. I mean, the goddamn things are like a foot and a half long and the diameter of a roll of quarters, so eating one should be an Olympic event (it'd be more interesting to watch than fucking Speed Walking), for which the winner would receive no medal — only piteous, disapproving stares.
Warheads — There has never been a more aptly-named foodstuff in human history, and I don't mean that in a good way. I'm reasonably sure these started out as a sadistically inventive torture device. Eating a warhead tastes like licking the fusion of a lemon and a box of dish detergent, only with (I imagine) a worse aftertaste. It would be interesting to see at what point Warheads actually went bad, although I suspect that unlike Twinkies, they really never do expire. Warheads will outlive us all. And probably kill some of us. But don't take my word for it, just ask these guys.
Gushers — To start with, that's the grossest-sounding name for a food I've ever fucking heard. Who hears that name and thinks, "mmm, delicious"? And then somehow, the taste manages to be even more disgusting than the name — just a diabetic miasma of high fructose corn syrup and malevolence. The texture is even worse, like something that's been living in the back of the Easter Bunny's sock drawer for the past decade. I've had nightmares about ever being forced to eat another Gusher.
Surge — Full disclosure: I have probably consumed more of this entry than anything else on this list. Anyway, for those of you fortunate/unfortunate enough not to have had Surge at some point during your childhood, it was a fairly short-lived soda manufactured by the Coca-Cola corporation that originated as a Norwegian soft drink called "Urge" (presumably, the next incarnation would've been called "Scourge," and would've been a lot more accurate). It was allegedly citrus-based, and was specifically designed to compete with Mountain Dew. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola's marketing strategy appeared to consist of the following:
Step 1: Create motor oil-tasting fountain beverage.
Step 2: ???????????
Step 3: PROFIT!
Part of the "appeal" of Surge was that it was supposed to be the more "edgy" and "extreme" and "fucking obnoxious" counterpart to Mountain Dew. Which I guess is accurate, if your definition of "extreme" includes turning your internal organs into a scale model of the East River. I am honestly kind of astounded that Surge didn't figure prominently into the origin story of at least one Spider-Man villain.
Funyuns — I swear to God, these things have to be some sort of cosmic joke. What the fuck even ARE they?! It's like the murdered, vengeful Ghost of Onions Past had sex with a pork rind and gave birth to a stoner's fever dream. When you eat a bag of Funyons, you're basically just eating fried packing peanuts. More importantly: WHY THE FUCK DO I STILL BUY THESE THINGS? Because I'm a fucking idiot, that's why.
Otter Pops/Icy Pops — These have many names depending on where you're from, but it all boils down to the same thing: a plastic tube filled with radioactive, multicolored liquid that you're supposed to freeze before you eat. While there's no evidence that I can find that these things cause cancer, don't they just look like they should? It really feels like you should be able to describe them as frozen cancer sticks. Can we pretend they cause cancer for the sake of the joke? Cool. FUCKING CANCERSICLES, GET OFF MY LAWN.
Image via Barry Blackburn/Shutterstock.